My name is Ali Collucci. I have been a student employee of Bellevue College for a little over a year, working with Student Programs and Director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer and Questioning Resource Center.
I have done a few different interviews for The Watchdog, and they almost always were a great pleasure. Almost. The first interview that I did for The Watchdog (then known as The Jibsheet) was for National Coming Out Day. It was partly about NCOD and my being hired. It was great. The interview process was great, the photographer was nice, prompt and thorough, and the communication between the reporter and I was impeccable. However, almost a year to the date of my first article, the experience was much different. While I try to always be understanding, cooperative, and patient, I have a few concerns regarding the last article that was published.
Communication between the reporter and I seemed shaky, and I passed it off as said reporter getting their “sea legs,” for lack of a better phrase. Certain things and communication “promises” regarding the picture for the article were not met and there were quotations and details that were not exchanged during the interview process. If I may, I’d like to break this down by each misunderstanding, so I may explain the problem as efficiently as possible.
1: Paragraph 4: “Ali Collucci, the director of the LGBTQ at BC, believes that Coming Out Day is just as important, if not more than Pride day.” I would like to clarify that while I personally have a very strong feeling towards the importance of NCOD for my own reasons, I do not believe that it is in any way, shape or form more important than Pride month. Pride month is one of the largest celebrations for the LGBTQ community, and (what some feel) is the only real time that they can 100% show who they are, while NCOD focuses more on being able to come out so that you can express who you are fully.
2: Paragraph 5: “Collucci explained that the holiday was not just about pride in yourself, but being brave enough to ‘come out of the closet’ in a public setting.” While I may know a lot about the members of the resource center and individuals in the LGBTQ community, I cannot say that that this celebration is about “being brave enough to come out in a public setting.” In fact, it is my belief that if you are even contemplating coming out then you are extremely brave. And that goes along for anyone who makes the choice to come out in general; whether it is to you, one friend, a blog on the internet, or a cafeteria full of people. One cannot dictate or decide what bravery is. Bravery for one might be looking into the mirror and saying out loud how they identify to themselves, or it may be someone writing a spoken word expressing who they are, how they identify, and performing it to a large group of people. As such, I do not believe that NCOD is about having the courage or bravery to come out in a public setting, but to put it simply, to come out.
3: Paragraph 6: “A lot of people go all out for this thing. Not just members of the LGBTQ but student and faculty as well. People will dress up in rainbow colored t-Shirts while others will wear pins that support the community and the holiday. Some will even hand pencils with sentences and pictures in regards to NCOD or have stickers on their clothes, backpacks and cars.” I believe that a great deal of this was misinterpreted. There are very few faculty and staff (in comparison to how many are on campus) that will even wear a pin to show support. Let alone wear rainbow colored shirts or have stickers on their cars. While I do not have an illusion that BC is filled with homophobes, that does not mean that I am blind to the lack of active support that the LGBTQ Resource Center and community have. In regards to the shirts, pins, pencils, and stickers, those were all item ideas for what we were going to stuff the packs that we gave out to everyone on NCOD. And the shirts were something that the members of the LGBTQ Resource Center in the center for themselves. But faculty and staff (to my own knowledge) do not practice this.
4: Paragraph 12: “…Our collections now are miniscule to the ones we soon hope to get.”
The books and resources that we currently have, are numerous. While our book collection has decreased in quantity, it has increased exponentially in quality. Most of the books that used to call our bookshelves home were mostly donated, and mostly crime/mystery novels with a lesbian character, that most assumed was appropriate gay/lesbian literature. And while I am excited to be increasing the volume in our literary library, I do not think or believe that it is in any way shape or form “miniscule.”
As I said before, working with The Watchdog is always a great pleasure. I have never, before this unfortunate incident, had a problem with either the experience nor the article that was worked on while collaborating with The Watchdog team. I hope that by writing this letter I am able to get across two points.
The true meaning behind the interview, along with the messages, beliefs and concepts that I tried to initially show the BC campus
That this may be a good way that the staff of The Watchdog can learn, grow, and be educated from this mistake, and understand that things happen, and the best way to go about it is to fix them to the best of your abilities.
Thank you so much for your important time, and effortless ward work towards the LGBTQ Resource Center.